Papa John's Apologizes for Criticizing NFL Anthem Protests - NBC New York

Papa John's Apologizes for Criticizing NFL Anthem Protests

The company's stock has fallen by nearly 13 percent since the CEO's comments

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    Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who ignited a national movement last year after refusing to stand during the national anthem before NFL games, has been named GQ's "Citizen of the Year."

    (Published Monday, Nov. 13, 2017)

    Papa John's apologized Tuesday night for comments made by CEO John Schnatter blaming sluggish pizza sales on NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.

    The company is a major NFL sponsor and advertiser, and Schnatter said on an earnings call Nov. 1 that "NFL leadership has hurt Papa John's shareholders" and that the protests "should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago."

    The company tweeted a statement offering to "work with the players and league to find a positive way forward."

    "The statements made on our earnings call were describing the factors that impact our business and we sincerely apologize to anyone that thought they were divisive," it said. "That definitely was not our intention.

    Joe Montana Says Poor Play, Not Politics, Cost Kaepernick NFL Job

    [NATL] Joe Montana Says Poor Play, Not Politics, Cost Kaepernick NFL Job

    Storied football Hall of Famer Joe Montana tells NBC's Eric Hinton that Colin Kaepernick is most likely out of the NFL because of poor play, not his controversial stance of kneeling before the National Anthem last season. 

    (Published Tuesday, July 11, 2017)

    "We believe in the right to protest inequality and support the players' movement to create a new platform for change. We also believe, as Americans, we should honor our anthem. There is a way to do both."

    The movement was started last year by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who kneeled to protest what he said was police mistreatment of blacks. More players began kneeling after President Donald Trump said at an Alabama rally last month that team owners should get rid of players who protest during the anthem.

    Papa John's added that it is "open to ideas from all. Except neo-nazis." It has previously tried to distance itself from white supremacists who praised Schnatter's comments, saying it does not want those groups to buy its pizza.

    The company's stock has fallen by nearly 13 percent since Schnatter's comments.